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Jan 16, 2008 04:10 AM

Experiences with CSA's (Community supported agriculture)?

I'm thinking about joining one in manhattan and I'm trying to find out a little more information about people's experiences with them.

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  1. I loved my CSA, the Central Harlem CSA, associated with Roxbury Farms. (Mmm, the sweetest corn...) They also worked with a meat/poultry/dairy cooperative, which I loved. I have turned into an insufferable CSA proselytizer; the freshness of the produce, and the obligation to stay at home and eat it, can't be beat.

    This post has great details on finding NYC CSA options:

    Now we're part of a winter CSA through Bialis farm, and it seems so far that we've gotten much more produce from them than we were during the summer. Also fantastic quality. Beautiful delicate tuscan kale...

    If others have participated in other UWS/Harlem CSAs in particular, I'd love to hear about the pros/cons, and meat/dairy availability. We're thinking of switching to one closer to home next year, so I'd love to hear more about other people's experiences.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rose water

      Thanks so much! So UWS/Harlem wasn't the closest one to you? What made you pick it? My one concern is the effort required to transport the food (I have a 7 month old so everything is more difficult!).

      1. re: Aimee

        Our pick up site was 135th and Adam Clayton Powell. There are many others in the area, but ones that are closer had filled by the time we signed up last year. I think a deciding factor for me, on top of proximity, will be the meat/dairy availability.

        One thing that balances the food transport inconvenience is the fact that you really don't need to do major grocery shopping during CSA season. That's huge.

    2. I too am doing the Bialas Farm winter CSA right now. It is unbelievable the amount of food we received. And because it's winter stuff (potatoes, celeriac, beets, etc.), it weighs a ton! The quality of everything is amazing -- the freshest potatoes, the sweetest onions. We got a huge amount of carrots and we aren't real big carrot eaters; but I must say I've been snacking on these and they are delicious -- delicate and sweet.

      Here's a link that might help you locate a CSA in your neighborhood.

      Also, if you are interested in anything, you should talk to the farmer -- my friend got a one-week trial last summer (Chubby Bunny on the UWS) to see if she wanted to join. Maybe others do something similar.

      5 Replies
      1. re: LNG212

        Aha! You're the one who tipped me off to the Bialas CSA: (We've been having cabbage, carrot and kale salads with miso dressing--delicious, and all that roughage makes you feel virtuous!


        Thanks so much for the tip! Are you part of a summer CSA? How does it compare?

        1. re: rose water

          Yup, that was me. :) I'm actually making kolcannon (cabbage & potatoes & leeks) for an Irish dinner I'm hosting on Friday. The carrots have been the most surprising to me -- I am amazed at how much I like them. We also roasted the beets and had them with some blue cheese.

          I've never done a regular-season CSA before -- DH and I thought this short one might be a good way to try it out. I'm torn. I really want to do a summer one -- but the amount of food in this winter one (and assuming the summer would be even more!) kinda scares me since we are only 2 people. I think I would also miss going to the greenmarket every Friday and picking out things myself. So I can't compare the two. My friend is doing Chubby Bunny for this upcoming season and hopefully I'll get to see more closely how it all works out.

          1. re: LNG212

            I split my share with a co-worker, so we each picked up every two weeks. We ended up at greenmarkets on our week off, and I was always jealous when it was my co-worker's chance to pick up. It was a good trial run for us, since we had the same concerns about whether we could handle it. I think we're going to get a full share and do weekly pick ups next year.

            Is Chubby Bunny a CSA? Do they participate in the greenmarkets as well?

            To add to the general chow knowledge here, my friend has been part of an Inwood CSA for years, run now by Hawthorne Valley Farms, and she raves about their greatness.

            1. re: rose water

              Thanks everyone! I'm definitely inspired!

              1. re: rose water

                My friend found Chubby Bunny when searching for CSAs that deliver to the UWS. Here's the link for Chubby Bunny . I'm going to see how it works for her and how much food they get to help me decide for us.

        2. I belonged to the 6th St. Community Center CSA in 2006, and the Stanton Street CSA in 2007. Both were great experiences; I split the second because they don't do half-shares. And both choices were governed by how close they are to where I live.

          I recommend the CSA experience highly. It is a schlep, no question, but it's great to get fresh, local produce so reliably (and in most cases, relatively inexpesively).

          Oh, and I did the summer/fall share, not winter, and got a lot of great stuff. Most CSA's do separate fruit & veggie shares.